Transcriptional regulation of thousands of genes instructs complex morphogenetic and molecular events for heart development. Cardiac transcription factors choreograph gene expression at each stage of differentiation by interacting with cofactors, including chromatin-modifying enzymes, and by binding to a constellation of regulatory DNA elements. Here, we present salient examples relevant to cardiovascular development and heart disease, and review techniques that can sharpen our understanding of cardiovascular biology. We discuss the interplay between cardiac transcription factors, cis-regulatory elements, and chromatin as dynamic regulatory networks, to orchestrate sequential deployment of the cardiac gene expression program.
Keywords: cell differentiation; heart diseases; transcription factors; transcriptional networks; transcriptional regulatory elements.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.